Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Featuring Asian American Authors: Maxine Hong Kingston

Grinnell College Libraries begins a series of blog entries featuring Asian American Authors.

Submitted by R. Stuhr

Maxine Hong Kingston came to literary prominence with her first novel Woman Warrior published in 1976. It is significant for its role in opening the door for ethnic-American literature. Kingston combined autobiography with myth and fable to interpret her own childhood in particular and, more broadly, first generation Chinese American identity. Kingston is notable for her feminist approach and has stirred controversy over her use of Chinese mythology.

From Contemporary Authors:

"Kingston is best known for The Woman Warrior (1976), which chronicles her struggle to confront and synthesize her dual heritage as a first-generation Chinese American woman. A collage of genres and influences, The Woman Warrior combines myth, fantasy, and memoir in formulating a hybrid culture that bridges Chinese and American history as well as competing gender, cultural, and linguistic structures. A National Book Critics Circle Award winner, The Woman Warrior remains, according to a 2008 essay written by Helena Grice, "the most widely read title in American universities today," considered seminal for its unconventional form and language, influence on theories of feminist criticism, and generation of a mainstream audience for ethnic literature. While The Woman Warrior represents Kingston's endeavor to comprehend her mother's alien character, China Men (1980)--also a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award--constitutes her attempt to define her relationship with her silent, angry father. Kingston's later works also delineate the cultural and political conflicts of Asian Americans. However, they more fully represent her activism on behalf of civil rights, pacifism, and social responsibility, abiding concerns for which she was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1997."

For interviews, biography, and critical reviews go to Literature Resource Center

Books in Burling Library:

The Woman Warrier: Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Burling Library 1st Floor CT275.K5764 A33 1976

China Men
Burling 2nd Floor E184.C5 K5 1980

Tripmaster Monkey: His Fakebook
Burling 3rd Floor PS3561.I52 T7 1989

The Fifth Book of Peace
Burling 3rd Floor PS3561.I52 F44 2003

For essays and poems search the library catalog.

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